The Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre was established in March 2004 to provide music therapy services to individuals with special needs. Founded by New Zealand singer Hinewehi Mohi, along with other local music industry figures, the Centre is named for Hinewehi’s daughter Hineraukatauri who has severe cerebral palsy. Hineraukatauri received music therapy during a family trip to London in 2003, and during these sessions was able to engage and communicate in ways not previously thought possible, making her family determined to bring the life-changing benefits of music therapy to New Zealand.
The name Raukatauri comes from the legend of Hine Raukatauri, the Goddess of Flutes, who is the personification of Music. In Māori legend, Hine Raukatauri is the casemoth who lives in her elongated cocoon that hangs from many natives trees. Māori make a unique flute, the Pūtōrino, in the shape of the casemoth’s home. When Hinewehi came to name her daughter, Hineraukatauri’s severe cerebral palsy reminded her of the goddess trapped in her case, since she is trapped in her body and incapable of much independent movement. Music has been the means of communication and connection between mother and daughter. Hineraukatauri, and many others, have found a way to express themselves through music therapy at the Centre named after her and the ancestress Raukatauri.
Music therapy is still a relatively young practice in New Zealand, and yet music therapy as a credentialed profession emerged in the 1940s. It is widely used across the world, most notably in Europe, Australia and the United States, not only in music therapy centres but also in hospitals, hospices, schools, rest homes, mental health treatment facilities and prisons. However, music therapy is still largely unknown in New Zealand and therefore a large part of the Centre’s work to date has been in raising awareness and education of the field, along with its benefits, especially for children with special needs. The benefits and effectiveness of music therapy are thoroughly supported by research, both in New Zealand and internationally.
Our mission, as New Zealand’s only music therapy centre, is to offer a quality, accessible music therapy service to all people, whatever their needs. Our services managed from our base in Grey Lynn, Auckland. Whilst many of our sessions are delivered here in Grey Lynn, to cater to growing demand we have expanded across Auckland and currently operate five satellites in the region – making music therapy accessible in places such as Pukekohe, Orewa, Titirangi and Otara. We also deliver outreach programmes in partnership with over 15 schools and organisations, allowing children and adults to receive music therapy directly in their classrooms, group homes and rehabilitation units. In the June 2018 we undertook our most significant venture since we first opened our doors when we launched our first Regional Centre in Hawke’s Bay, and in March 2019 we opened a second Regional Centre in Whangarei.